Taking off to Napa, I had no idea of what to expect. For some reason the acronym ROYGBIV had been stuck in my head for a couple of days before I left for this trip, so I decided to go with that and find my ROYGBIV inspiration in Napa. Honestly, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.Read More
Back in 1993 my boyfriend and I drove to Oregon, impetuously deciding to move there to follow the next chapter of our life somewhere other than the midwest. Winding the curves of Highway 20, Newport was my first peak at the Pacific Ocean and the very first beach I experienced on the Oregon Coast. Cresting the highway and seeing Newport below, almost like a mirage against the backdrop of the ocean, is still crystal clear in my memory even 21 years later, that's probably why we dropped everything and ended up moving there for two years. I don't get back there as often as I would like, but it definitely holds a special sentimental place in my heart where everything seemed very simple and all the opportunities of life were ahead of you.
So I was super excited to be invited back for the weekend to Newport by a friend who was, in fact, the first person I met when we moved there back in the day. Her place, just blocks from Nye Beach, is part of an assembly of little cottages ringing a beautiful garden and grassy lawn. Look up and your surrounded by those wind swept coast trees, Sitka spruce and Douglas Fir alike. A little private nook to play board games on the grass or let the kids run off some wild energy.
The walk down to Nye Beach was warm, the hardy flowers that exist on the coast (although I was never able to successfully grow them when I lived there) where all in full bloom: hydrangeas, wild roses, purple asters, lots of things I don't know what they're called, too. The beach itself was windy, very good for kiting, not so good for trying to keep warm even with a cup of coffee from our favorite bakery (Panini's) . My friends were superior sand castle builders, utilizing multiple buckets and garden shovels dragged down from their garden shed, they obviously have the skills down! Although Newport holds much sentiment for me, it's a little coast town that I would genuinely recommend to anyone, even if you've seen the Pacific Coast a ton of times.
Day 1 … starts with beautiful old brick buildings as we walk down the waterfront towards the Museum of Glass. The iconic building with the tilted cone was opened in 2002 and serves to not only celebrate the global community of glass artists and innovators, but to invigorate a part of the city that was formerly a toxic brownfield.Read More
I had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC this past week for a family wedding. I've only been there once before, but was again struck at how amazing a city it is and how I barely scratch the surface of what it has to offer. The weather was gorgeous, colorful tree canopies reflecting off the Patomic River as we walked down the National Mall visiting the memorials. There is no getting away from the heavy presence of time in this city, the passage of time by the conveyance of historical markers and events. Too add to this heavy presence are the ponderous government buildings, there are no buildings in Portland that I can think of that are so hulking to someone on the street, block after block.... They are beautifully detailed in granite and marble, but successfully convey an intimidating strength that I'm sure was intended. On the other hand, this formidable nature is countered with wide open green boulevards and a diverse population speaking every imaginable language. It's really a city of contrasts and so much to enjoy, and we only had barely a full day to see the sites! Here's a quick tour in photos.
Andrew Jackson equestrian statue in Lafayette Park, the White House & the Washington Monument are beyond
The White House
The World War II Memorial
Looking down the reflecting pool towards the World War II Memorial & Washington Memorial (scaffolding up since 2011 Virginia earthquake)
Steps up to the Lincoln Memorial
The man with wisdom
This weekend I enjoyed a quick trip out of town to the Allison Inn, in the heart of wine country. The Allison Inn is a destination resort in the Willamette Valley, built to LEED Gold standards by the firm GGLO out of Seattle. What I enjoy best about this place, aside from the luxurious amenities, is the attention to detail in the way it was constructed. A nautilus inspired spiral staircase overlooks the lobby and allows views to the rolling hills beyond. The palate is very Pacific NW with wood, steel, concrete and a lot of stone. Entrances are marked with water flowing over boulders, creating a buffer of calmness and coolness between the outside world and the oasis within. The basic skin of the building are wood panels held off the structure as a rain screen with fairly large gaps in between. This allows for plenty of reveals on the building's surface, something that is played up inside as well with many linear details repeated throughout the interior space. The linearity is broken up only by the large walls of stone blocks which gently taper down to landscape walls then to organically placed boulders.
This area of the Willamette Valley is rich with silty, rocky soil creating the perfect ingredient to successfully grow a lush variety of grapes. The Inn is bordered by it's own grape orchard, as well as an amazing chef's garden complimenting the farm to table inspirations at the Jory Restaurant. The landscaping surrounding the Allison is full of drought resistant varieties happily thriving in this clay rich soil. Gravel paths circle the building with an abundance of sculptures and art installations at every turn. The attention to detail is perhaps most evident in the arrival sequence. GGLO describes this as a "carefully choreographed act of concealing and revealing". On their website they illustrate the project's journey through a series of sketches and photos, the arrival sequence in particular being informed by elegant materials, framed views, nuanced lighting, seasonal planting displays, etc.. This sequence created to highten one's anticipation can be seen in a more organic way throughout the wineries we visited while in the area. Long gravel roads, past ribbons of vines and many times hazelnut orchards, offering peeks at the upcoming tasting room, but rarely a full reveal of the manor at the very highest point of that acreage.